Baseball Provides an Opportunity to Improve the Lives of Childre - News, Sports and Weather

Baseball Provides an Opportunity to Improve the Lives of Children with Disabilities

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Just beyond the gates at the Riverside Little League complex in Great Falls, teams are competing against each other for a win.

A few fields over and past the chain link fence at field number one, the kids on the Challengers baseball team aren't competing against anyone else, they're just having fun.

"I like to hit the ball and I like running  the bases," said Teagan Frausere.

"It would be a lot of fun to come out and get some good fresh air and do some stuff outside," said Trey Royt.

"I hit with the bat. Voom," said Ashton & Brayden Kenneway. 

The Challengers are kids dealing with challenges themselves.

"All of them are dealing with a disability. Mental or physical," said coach Kathy Seidler.

The twelve member team, ranging from 4 to 20 years old, are not allowing their disabilities to keep them from playing baseball.

"It's controlled chaos. It's so much fun. We have a blast doing it.," said coach Mark Seidler.

"It's wonderful for them because they can be just like others kids that are playing baseball and they can participate just like other kids. They're just not able to do some of the others things that some of the other kids can," said Seidler.

Kathy Seidler and her husband Mark have coached the team for five years, and their son Jason, who has a disability has played on the team since he was five years old.

"He just gets excited. Seeing the look on his face and being happy, that's what we like to see," said Seidler.

The Seidlers have dedicated themselves to about an hour, once a week, to just throw the ball and help the kids run the bases as if they were playing in a real game. Over the years, they have seen them grow.

"Some of these kids four or five years ago couldn't even hit the ball and now they're hitting the ball, they're running. Some of them are even hitting them out over the fence out there. I mean it's just been awesome to watch them progress from one stage of their disability to another," said Seidler.

Doug Shaver's son Kevin has down syndrome, and even though Kevin isn't playing in a real game, he's still takes it seriously.

"He always excited to come. He's always talks  about how many hits he's got. How many times he's hit it out of the park. That's always the goal is. He just loves it," said Doug Shaver.

"I've known Kevin since he was knee high to a grass hopper. He's progressed something fierce. He's so loving and caring and he comes up to me every week after we're done and goes, 'Well thank you so much'," said Seidler.

While there isn't a scoreboard keeping a track of the runs scored in this game, these kids are still winners.

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